“Modern Aikido: Moves and Meaning,” by Tom Koch

One of our readers was kind enough to forward the following link that many will find of interest:

“Forget the politics that have divided the founder Morihei Ueshiba’s aikido into a half-dozen communities, all calling themselves aikido. There are, in truth, only two aikido camps today: one mostly hidden, some say forgotten, and the other ascendant.

The first is a fearsome martial art cobbled together from older Japanese styles, resulting in a pattern of off-balancing entries, devastating throws and effective joint locks. That was the system Morihei Ueshiba, also known as O-Sensei, used in 70 matches when adepts from other styles came by to ask for a “lesson.”

The second is a noncombat-related practice in which aikido moves are taught to advance Morihei Ueshiba’s social philosophy, one in which effectiveness is at best secondary to goals of personal balance and communal harmony. That is hombu aikido today, the discipline that’s advanced by the founder’s grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba, the current head, or doshu, of the style. That doesn’t mean the aikido moves he teaches are ineffective, only that martial excellence is, for him, a secondary concern….”

Click here to read the entire article on the Black Belt magazine website

Hi-res videos of Morihei Ueshiba unavailable elsewhere


  1. and read the comments on the Black Belt Mag page….Hear, hear!

  2. The Founder, Morihei, did nor separate practical applications and philosophical practice. Why should we? The Founder understood and made clear that these two are integral sides of the same coin, augment each other and cannot be authentic without either having total support of the other. And that this refinement never ends. Why should we depart from this and attempt walk on one leg? With Budo, particularly Aiki-Budo you can’t just rest on the laurels of remaining “just anyone.” To be too “practical” without being also “philosophical” or “just” philosophical” without being “practical” means we remain half a person. You may start off as “anyone,” but if you remain “anyone” and less than complete and balanced, you are failing to practice with the sincerity true Budo requires. Aikido is to make you more you, and enable you to give more to the world. If you won’t become able to protect anything with wisdom, discretion, respect and integrity what is your worth? If the Way, Path or Do was that convenient, “anyone” could be on it. Budo requires people of integrity and caliber. Not just “anyone’s.” The world is already full of drifting “anyones,” and also harmful “anyones” who add nothing to the net good. “Anyone” does not cut it. A pretend warrior is nothing more than a paper tiger in fancy dress making fake sounds that mean nothing. Life on Earth is not a vacation. The Founder made himself constructively useful beyond the dojo. That was the example he set. We should not forget.

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